23-Month-Old Toddler Development: Potty Training
For almost two years now, your life has revolved around your adorable toddler ... and her not so adorable doo-doo. You never thought you'd analyze someone else's #2 at such close range—the color, the consistency, the frequency. Well, get ready to kick it up a notch because you're about to get even more intimate with your child's "waste products" as you embark on the frustrating, exciting, messy journey of potty training! What you're thinking: "It's official: This kid is going to go to college in diapers."
- When you decide the time has come to ditch the diapers, the first thing you need to do is purchase a potty. You can either get an insert that fits in the toilet (the big plus being no nasty cleanup) or a small, kid-size potty just for Junior (portable and less intimidating for some kids), or both. Once you've got the potty training gear, roll up your sleeves—and the rugs—and try these potty training techniques:
- Don't push your kid. Despite your worst fears, she will not go through adolescence wearing diapers. Signs of potty training readiness include awareness of when she has to go and when her diaper is soiled; the ability to stay dry for a few hours; and the biggy: interest in the potty.
- It is OK to potty train by bribing! Yes, normally this isn't sound parenting advice, but a potty training reward system (like stickers, M&Ms or even a potty party) is the way to go.
- Take off her diaper and let her run around au naturel. When she starts to do the "potty dance," guide her to the potty. Make sure to have a mop and a good stain remover on hand because odds are she won't make it to the pot the first several (hundred) times.
- Don't make a big deal when your kid has an accident (or 20). Just change her pants, say something encouraging like, "Wow, you did a pee-pee! Now next time let's try and put it in the potty!" (You might need to muster that same encouragement for yourself as you scrub your rug.)
- Show her how! Books, videos, dolls and plain old modeling how to use the potty work wonders. Never thought you'd actually encourage another person to watch closely as you used the toilet, did you?! Ah, the not-so-dignified side of parenting.
- If you've tried and tried and tried to get your kid to do her business in the potty and she flat out refuses, let it go and try again later. These days only 4 percent of toddlers are fully potty trained by age 2. The majority of kids don't get it down until around 3 or 4 years old (especially boys). And most kids master peeing before pooping. So if your kid is a bit of a toilet-phobe at the moment, don't worry. We promise she won't be the only one in preschool rocking the diaper butt.
- "The potty training thing is just starting to make me a little nervous. Four months ago, my daughter Maggie was into it. She really wanted to sit on it, she even went on the potty a few different times, and she seemed to love it! As the months went by, though, she became less interested."
Read more of "Potty ... Please?" by actress Kellie Martin
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your kid's next checkup.